Stratosphere Girl

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

stratosphere girl

stratosphere girl

stratosphere girl

stratosphere girl

stratosphere girl

I saw M.X. Oberg's Stratosphere Girl a few weeks ago, and it was my second viewing of the film. I'm not sure why it wasn't particularly memorable for me the first time I saw it, but I have to say that my second viewing left a definable impression. This could be perhaps because I was approaching the film from a different perspective this time.

The actual plot of the film is not so pleasant, and not really what involved me the most. It's essentially about a young manga-comic artist, Angela, moving from Europe to Japan to look for her missing friend who is caught up in the world of "high-class" prostitution, or "hostesses"; whatever you want to call it, it basically spells blatant exploitation.

It's not so much the story though which has left an impression on me, but the way it was told: sensually and evocatively. There were moments when I felt the film spilled over into cliche and depthlessness, but even so, there is something genuinely moving about it. I like how it's a study of contrasts and spaces: one moment we're in the garish, somewhat dingy streets, the next we are in a blindingly white and light bedroom, devoid of any texture besides the naked body, which seems even more vulnerable against the stark white. So I came away from this film thinking about texture and form, rather than plot or narrative. Almost like what I feel when examining a sculpture. There is also a hallucinatory structure and texture to this film that reminds me of staring at a painting in a museum for a long time and then trying to focus your eyes again, back to "reality", once you step outside.

There were moments when I felt the film was almost "speaking" in synchronisation with some of Lady Gaga's music videos. Have you seen in particular the music video for "Bad Romance"? The same aesthetic and ideological significance is evident in this film; and it's no coincidence that both Gaga's video and the film are about the buying and selling of the female body.

As usual, there is something more, something else at the tip of my tongue which I can't name yet. Ah well, what did you think of it, if you've seen it?

All images are from the film's official website.


Tana said...

Hila,j'adore simplement tes reviews,the style of writing.
I haven't seen it, but it would be interesting to watch
will try to find it

Tracey said...

I love the images you've selected from the movie ... it shows perfectly what you have most elegantly described with your words.

I adore watching fascinating movies ... and sometimes a film can move beyond a story or the interaction of characters, and it becomes all about the 'feel' or the 'texture' ... that feeling of being transported somewhere else through a cinematic experience can be almost overwhelming.

I often think movies that touch me in that kind of way can stay with me longer, as I'll often reflect on the 'sensation' they leave me with.

Beautifully written Hila.

that kate said...

I am intrigued by the story of this and will definitely keep an eye out for it! I do enjoy films with a female manga artist as the lead - 'Gou Gou the cat' is one of my favourites!

CloudyKim said...

Wow - a female manga artist lead - I don't think I've ever seen a film with one. The screenshots are just awesome - I bet you found those lovely moments amongst the other parts that, as you said, seemed to fall flat.

I haven't seen this movie, but it does look worth checking out. Sometimes excellent cinematography is all you need for a movie to make a connection with you.

Have you ever seen the French film called "The Science of Sleep"? That movie, and my feelings towards it, remind me a little of how you feel about this one. The plot is sporadic and confusing, and a little too sad to be a favorite, but nonetheless it's one I keep going back to and finding more to love each time. I highly recommend it :)

and flowers pick themselves said...

i'm definitely going to look this up. sounds very interesting!

xo Alison

tywo said...

Thanks for sharing this. I'm going to check it out.
I love your reviews.


Sarah said...

oh no, i've not seen this before but after what you wrote about it, i'm definitely curious to watch it! x

Christine said...

This sounds intriguing. I will definitely have to check it out.

Jen said...

This does appear on my never-ending list of films to watch... when I'm finished watching Uni-selected films.

I like the way the lighting is used in these images, especially in the second one. Perhaps the plot and some of the style is reflecting the manga theme? I'll have to watch it to find out...

P R I M O E Z A said...

you're a great resource... i must start a new list of films to see.

hila said...

tana: thank you!

tracey: yes, I feel exactly the same way.

that kate: thanks for the tip!

cloudykim: yes, I've seen that film, it's quite a good little movie.

alyson, tywo, Sarah, Christine: thanks! I hope you check it out.

Jen: Hi jen! how are you? yes, the manga theme definitely comes out through the style of the film.

primoeza: why thank you :)

thea said...

this looks so sexy.

hila said...

it is pretty sexy.